The old man is always keen to impress today’s youth with his handle on current fashion trends. If boating shoes, seedy jeans and a comfortable tee-shirt have really been en vogue for the past thirty years, then maybe he is onto something after all, but I believe that even men’s fashion evolves.
In fairness, he has tried some new styles. He lived in beanies for a while when he was coming to terms with hair loss, and I do remember an occasion when he sported a marshmallow pink polo shirt much to his discomfort – both ‘radical’ fashion statements for the old man, for whom the acts of untucking his shirt or co-ordinating shoes with an outfit are deemed ‘making an effort’ .
His latest fashion faux-pas is that he has adopted his Qantas pyjamas as his preferred outfit for almost any occasion, without any consideration for the feelings of the rest of the family. The teens are mortified, but like the toddler that he is, the more they protest, the more often the combo seems to adorn his middle-aged frame.
I have mentioned in previous posts that clothes shopping is anathema to him.
Put him in the vicinity of an Apple shop and he is a pig in mud; abandon him in Oxford Street or a mall and he is like a stubborn lamb to the slaughter.
Like many men of his generation he has no real interest in style, unless it has a function. He shops once a year, generally when the sales are on or when he needs new business shirts. His selections are solely based around comfort. He is completely intolerant of itchy jumpers, expensive designer clothes (on principle), trying anything on, talking to sales assistants and poor service. In general, he is a mild-mannered, somewhat reserved man; in department stores, he becomes a belligerent tosser such is the stress that consumes him when clothes shopping.
It has taken me seven years to get him to believe that Converse and hooded sweatshirts are not just the threads of American hip hop artists and that it’s actually ok to undo your top button.
He’s more Simon Cowell than David Beckham.
Due to the constraints of corporate life, where he is straitjacketed in a suit from Monday to Friday, he chooses to become a libertine at the weekends. Anything goes. His style of choice has a sort of ‘labourer meets student’ bent and he will bare his chest all the time around the house if he can get away with it, much to our horror because white chest hair is obviously not a becoming look on anyone other than Father Christmas.
His absolute refusal to conform to any sort of dress code at the weekends makes ‘smart-casual’ invitations tricky and has been hotly debated during our marriage (like money) since our wedding day, because sometimes holey tee-shirts, gardening shorts and dog-chewed thongs simply don’t cut it. It may sound shallow, but occasionally I would like him to make an effort and look nice.
The grey Qantas business class pyjama top is unfortunately very similar in colour and style to a Hurley one I bought him. Unfortunately, he just happened to have thrown it on the other night when he and the HSC Queen were caught out by a whole bunch of her ‘popular’ friends from school, while hiding from one of my menopausal melt-downs in the village.
A family meeting was immediately called to address Dad’s complete disregard for the style reputation of the family and a number of suggestions were raised as to how we might cultivate a new ‘look’ for him. The first idea put forward was to invest in one of those colour therapy sessions for him, whereby he discusses the colours he likes and the colour ghuru finds the best palette and style for his body shape and coloring; the second, more vitriolic suggestion from the HSC Queen, was some man-scaping.
We realised, of course that we have as much chance of him committing to either option as I have in making him renew our wedding vows.
The aforementioned Qantas pyjama top has since been secreted in a bin bag which he unknowingly disposed of at his weekend trip to the tip, but our daughter is still scarred by the experience and still refuses to be seen with him in public.
Luckily, I married him for his money and not his appearance.